Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Barcelona Restaurants

My first stop is Barcelona on the Northeastern coast. It’s a great city filled with interesting architecture by Gaudí. After the nine hour flight a nap does sound pretty good but I wouldn’t want to sleep through a meal, so I’m off to the Boqueria Market, just off Las Ramblas.

The Boqueria is a feast for the senses- lots of fresh fish, tons of foie gras.

Mallorca Restaurants

Mallorca looks sort of like Capri in this photo and though, Mallorca does have waters every bit as blue, Capri it is not. No designer shops at each turn here, Mallorca is wild, rugged and spread out.

After flying into the main town of Palma, I landed in the interior town of Inca for lunch. Celler Can Amer is, as the name suggests, a former wine cellar. It’s half underground which keeps it nice and cool - a much needed respite from the hot Mallorcian sun.


Bilbao Restaurants

Located 30 minutes outside of Bilbao in Axpe, ETXEBARRI, was probably the best meal of the trip.

It isn’t exactly the rustic grill place where the guy makes his own charcoal that I had expected, although it IS an asador and he DOES make his own special type of fuel from various wood species, shown below. The dining room is elegant (in a comfortable way) modern and clean. The food is equally pristine. The light touch of chef/owner Bittor Arguinzoniz’s grilling only cajoles more natural flavors from his quality ingredients.


San Sebastián Restaurants

San Sebastián is truly a foodie’s paradise. There are more Michelin starred restaurants here than any other city in Europe (except Paris). The quality of food reaches far beyond the doors of the Michelin Stars though. At every price point quality abounds. You can head to the tapas bars for both quality products and star-worth creativity.

ARZAK is arguably one of the most famous restaurants in San Sebastián. Juan Mari Arzak is really one of the fathers of modern Spanish cuisine and even served as an early mentor for Ferran Adriá. Arzak can still be seen in the kitchen and making the rounds of the dining room even though his daughter, Elena, is now taking the lead role in the kitchen.


Spain Wine Country + Castilla y Leon Food Travel

La Rioja is no more than 2 hours from San Sebastian by car. It is a nice change of pace and I am ready to learn more about what Spain has to offer wine-wise. Like in most wine-centric European countries, the Spanish waiters, bartenders and even the average joe is passionate about and knows a great deal about his country’s wine. It is a great way to discover a smaller producer who doesn’t have enough inventory to ship to the USA.

The first stop is just outside of Laguardia in a town called Paganos to eat at HECTOR ORIBE. Apparently, wine-makers frequent the restaurant.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Madrid, Spain Food

Spain’s capital, Madrid, is majestic and beautiful. At every turn there is a grand via or beautiful fountain. Don’t miss the Prado Museum and since this is a food-oriented blog, I am happy to report if you find yourself there during lunch that the cafeteria provides a much missed favorite, baby arugula salad (topped with some of their famous canned tuna, of course).

Dinner is another matter, I am headed for Cava Baja, a few blocks south of the Plaza Mayor, the area known for its tapas bars.